Setting Boundaries to Avoid Holiday Season Stress


While the holiday season can be a special time of togetherness and traditions for many families, it can also be a very stressful time. Along with stressors such as traveling, multiple get-togethers, food-planning and extra expenditures, there can be tension among family members for a variety of reasons. Many people end up saying yes to every ask and avoiding conflict as a way of keeping family harmony during the holidays. But you don’t have to give up your sense of peace and your own limits. Setting boundaries is healthy and kind, not only to yourself, but to your entire family.

Don’t Totally Abandon Your Routine

This is a form of setting a boundary with yourself. It’s normal to ignore routines when circumstances make them hard to keep, but try to get creative.

Example: wake up 15 minutes before your parents to cram in an exercise routine, stretch, or meditation. It will become a very useful resource to avoid holiday season stress.

Before You Say Yes, Ask Yourself How Meaningful It Is

Don’t just say yes because “I do this every year.” Before saying yes to any obligations, ask yourself “Am I doing this because it will bring someone real joy, or am I doing this because I think it will make me look good?

Don’t Let Guilt Drive Your Decisions

Would it make like easier logistically and financially to just go over to your partner’s family’s house for the holidays rather than both? We’ve all dreaded this conversation but it’s an important one to have.

Remember, awkward conversations are short lived, and we’ll get over them.

Remember Your Financial Boundaries

The holidays can get expensive quickly. If you’re feeling the holiday pinch, it’s most likely you’re not alone, and it’s perfectly fair to set financial boundaries with your loved ones.

A fun way to get everyone involved is with games like Secret Santa with a price limit ($20), or collectively deciding to only guy gifts for the children.

Plan the Verbal Boundaries You’ll Set With Family

We all have that one family member who crosses the line. Maybe it’s about someone’s weight, job, religion, or marital status. If you anticipate it, you can plan ahead what you might say, for example: “I know you might think you’re making a job, but that makes me really uncomfortable. Let’s change the subject.

Get in touch

Looking for some support and guidance? Lynn Valley Counselling – we provide individual, couples, family, and group counselling for children, teens, and adults. Our registered therapists are trained in diversity awareness and committed to combating barriers to mental health. We’re here for you. Let’s talk.

Reach out today for a free, confidential consultation.



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